Disease-carrying ticks moving deeper into Northland

Experts tell the Duluth News-Tribune it used to be rare to catch a tick-borne illness such as Lyme disease north of Duluth, “but now it’s a fairly routine thing.” The Associated Press takes a look at a new map showing Lyme disease risk areas, and a video from Howcast can help you recognize the symptoms of Lyme disease, which, if caught early, often doesn't turn into a debilitating illness.

People in the Duluth area or farther north rarely showed up at doctors' offices with tick-born illnesses in the past, according to health experts, but "now it's a fairly routine thing." The News-Tribune reports experts say blacklegged ticks are moving deeper north into the Arrowhead.

Researchers who have spent years tracking ticks just released detailed new maps that pinpoint the areas where those venturing outdoors are most likely to encounter Lyme disease. Parts of northern Minnesota and nearly all of Wisconsin are among the highest-risk areas. Check out the Associated Press report.

Many people don't even notice deer tick bites, and Lyme disease can cause serious long-term complications. But most people can make a full recovery, especially if they catch it early. Here's how to recognize the symptoms:

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Tick season arrives a few weeks early

The Minnesota Health Department says deer ticks are already feeding in forested areas. The risk of tick-borne diseases doesn't typically start until late spring. Everyone is urged to take precautions to prevent tick bites.

Tick-infested spring likely without an extended deep freeze

The warmer winter weather has its advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage might be an abundance of deer ticks. According to the Star Tribune, the black-legged insects can survive without an extended cold snap. This is also prompting additional warnings about tick-borne illnesses and the dangers of Lyme disease.

Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin among highest risk areas for Lyme disease

Parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin have among the highest rates of deer ticks carrying the bacteria that causes the debilitating Lyme disease infections. The revelation comes from the first study that looks at the number of disease carrying ticks rather than the number of people infected with the disease.

New research suggests surge in lyme disease tied to fewer foxes

A new scientific study finds that lyme disease has increased the fastest in places -- like Minnesota -- where red fox numbers are shrinking. The ticks that carry the disease often live on mice, chipmunks, or other small mammals that are prey for foxes. The spread of coyotes has fox numbers dwindling in many areas.